Stand By Me - Beginner Grade 1 Practice & a Medley

Hi all. I’m at the consolidation stage of Beginner Grade 1 and I’m working on my 5 songs ‘from memory’

I made this video today and I cringe when I watch it! I don’t take my eyes off my fretting hand, hit a few duff notes and my changes to the C chord are abysmal in this for some reason, etc!

When the camera’s not rolling, I know I do a lot better than this but I guess this is why Justin suggests recording as it perhaps emulates a bit of stage fright if you’re not playing in front of others.

Anyway, here we go…

A few blunders and ‘stage fright’ aside, I’d love some feedback as to where I currently am on this song and whether this would be classified as ‘passable’ for one of my 5 songs at the consolidation stage please. Should I work some more on this before re-recording/uploading more songs?


I’m still a beginner myself , with that said …I’d be well happy with that progress. Most of the mistakes don’t detract to much and you always battle through! I thought the strumming & chord changes good for grade 1. Takes a long time to perfect songs. For me I like to cycle through a few songs rather than sticking with one, tend to find when I come back to the song I can make quicker progress & keeps things more interesting for me.

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I can relate to the stage fright an nerves , only 6 months in myself and did the same this week , that look when you miss a chord as well is so me lol
Don’t beat yourself up that was great

that C chords a toughty eh

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Thanks. I cycle between 8 or 9 different songs while practicing.

Here’s a little medley of the 5 I’ll probably do full vids of…

The hard part is self-critique and knowing if I should progress or keep practicing. Justin says to hit the chords right more than 50% of the time which I think I am but I know there’s more to it than just that.


Thanks. I won’t lie - there’s a couple of sweary outtakes :joy:

Hey Zed, for only a few months in that was a pretty solid effort mate.

Your strumming hand motion is consistent all the way through and I like the extra grunt that you put into some of your strums (like the build up at 1.32). That’s a good way to make some playthroughs feel a bit less repetitive - and I think for this particular one it matches nicely with the stronger vocals that the singer uses at different stages of the song, if I’m remembering correctly.

I usually make similar facial expressions as the one you did on that little chord hiccup - that’s why I hardly ever show my face in any of my recordings, because people could probably see me mouthing off inaudible swears :smile:
But don’t worry about it too much, I thought you did a good job with this one overall and you can only get better from here.

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I see and hear a lot of good things Zed. Your rhythm is steady and your strumming arm moves in a fluid movement even when you have a momentary distraction of a note that’s not quite right. Most of your chords are well fretted. It sounds musical, and importantly, you’ve recorded yourself. This will help you be objective in your review.

One small thing, notice that your little finger sometimes sticks out. It’s straight and looks tense. Watch how Justin positions his little finger in the same chord and as much as you possible can, learn to keep the fingers that aren’t working relaxed.

It looks as though watching the fret has become a habit. Try playing a few bars with your eyes closed as you play. In your practice time, make this part of your practice.

Well done.

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Thanks. :blush:

You noticed my pinky too :grin: It stuck out like a sore thumb to me when I watched it back. I’m going to try and curl it like Justin. I think it’s probably because I haven’t used it for anything much with my learning this far, other than the finger stretching exercise and the Peter Gunn theme tune.

And my fret board stare! :eyes: I’m usually not so intent on it as I’m usually focussed on the app for chord changes. It’s the ‘from memory’ part that I think has taken my focus from the app screen to the fret board - doh!

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The little extra grunt like you say is my effort to mix things up a bit - harder on the chorus, softer on the verse kind of thing.

In my first vid I posted, I sang (badly) on that. I’m focussing on playing now so will maybe do some singing later down the line.

What I will try and do is add a backing track to the next song I upload. That I think will help tally the playing to the music for the parts I place emphasis on. Just got to get my head around GarageBand and how that all works. :thinking:

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Think that was a very decent take Zed.
Your strumming sounds nice and it looks and sounds consistent and in time. Your chord changes is not bad either. Few small hitches here and there, but you kept on and did not fall out of the flow.
So i think this was a fine recording! Keep it up and make more videos Zed!! :+1:

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Well done Zed. Steady strumming with some dynamics and pretty good chord changes. You’re well en route. The previous posters have pointed out the things you should look out for.

Strumming a song without a vocal or a backing track is always going to sound a bit repetitive. There is no way round that other than introducing more dynamics and perhaps varying the strum pattern between the verse and the chorus.

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Hey @ZedExDM, first things first, I reckon you’re great for grade 1. If you feel you want to move on to grade 2 and you meet the other criteria Justin lists I would say do it. Just keep practicing things to polish them.

Also some tips for you I noticed. Nothing major, hopefully helpful.

Chord changes - mostly good, sometimes late. If a chord is a difficult change for you, try to change it before the 1 count on the bar. It sounds better. Will become less of an issue as you get better but makes a huge difference to the sound.

Playing without looking - honestly I wouldn’t worry about that, Justin makes a point of it at the END of Grade 2, and you’re still grade 1. Just do what’s comfortable.

Leg tapping - in stand by me, looked like you may have been tapping your right foot from the way the fretboard was rocking. Left foot :grinning:.

Tone - what’s your electric plugged into? Sounded quite dry. Electrics sound heaps better with a couple of tweaks, and just a little bit of reverb. For me, better sound = want to play more.

Keep rocking, huge progress.

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Sounding good Zed, I see new gear already pays its favour and you rocking out as you should with this kit! You got me singing along which means you did a great job :wink: others have given you some strong suggestions so I will just reiterate - marvellous job!

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Hi Zed,
What Adrian says :sunglasses:,but without the singing :smiling_face:,…I can’t add anything more :smile:

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Tone-wise, I’ve just found a whole new world of virtual pedals in Tonebridge, via Garageband with different amp settings, so I’m playing around with that a bit. But… trying not to get distracted by tech so much it eats in to practice time! It’s a real struggle!

I’m actually not a foot tapper at all despite trying my best to sustain. I see what you mean about the up/down motion. I believe that’s my strumming arm doing that. I’ll have to try and work on that to stop the movement a bit I think so good spot there :sunglasses:

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You are doing ever so well, Zed, making good progress. Lots of encouragement and suggestions already made, so nothing for me to say but keep on keeping on, ever onward!

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